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Maryland teen allegedly plotted school shootings in 129-page manifesto with transgender main character

A Maryland teenager was arrested after law enforcement officials uncovered a plot to commit school shootings, officials said Friday. 

Andrea Ye, 18, of Rockville, who goes by Alex, allegedly wrote a 129-page manifesto detailing the strategy to commit a mass shooting at Thomas Wootton High School in Montgomery County. Ye was arrested on Wednesday. 

Investigators uncovered the alleged plot through a review of Ye’s writing and internet searches, authorities said. In the manifesto, Ye allegedly wrote about targeting an elementary school and expressed a desire “to be famous.”

“Ye also wrote that he wanted to become a serial killer instead of a mass murderer because serial killers are romanticized a lot more,” Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones told reporters during a Friday news conference. 

ARREST MADE IN 2017 MURDER OF DC POLICE OFFICER 

In the manifesto, Ye said he wanted to target his former elementary school because “little kids make easier targets,” authorities said. He spent time on Discord chats with others who glorified school shootings, authorities said. 

“He clearly had mental health issues, and I think it would be worth our while to figure out when could we have known, or when should we have possibly intervened,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said. “We may have intervened at the right time, but at a very late time in the process. Hopefully this will lead us to look deeper into what we do for mental health support.”

Ye, a former student at Wootton High School, allegedly also targeted an elementary school for a potential shooting. Ye was hospitalized in December 2022 after threatening to “shoot up a school,” and the following month clinicians reported that the teen was talking about “suicide by cop.” 

Authorities first learned of Ye when the manifesto was shared by someone who knew Ye at a psychiatric facility with Baltimore County police in March. The tipster is referred to as “Witness-One” in charging documents. Ye claimed the manifesto was a fictional account of a school shooting. 

The tipster told investigators that they noticed similarities between the story’s transgender main character and Ye, the documents state. His internet search history revealed search terms like “gun ranges near me” and searches about school shootings, including the massacres at Sandy Hook, Connecticut and Parkland, Florida. 

Wootton High School welcome sign

During a search of the family home, a gun belonging to Ye’s father was found but Ye didn’t appear to have access to the weapon, Jones said.

“This could well be a case where the difficulty to get guns prevented him from getting a gun when he wanted it, and possibly prevented him from acting as soon as he would have preferred to act,” Elrich said, referring to Maryland’s strict gun laws. 

Ye was formally enrolled at Wootton High School but had not physically attended a Montgomery County Public Schools institution since the fall of 2022, Fox DC reported. He has been taking lessons through the virtual program Online Pathways to Graduation.

Ye has been charged with making threats of mass violence and is currently being held at the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit and was awaiting a bond hearing. 

Authorities said security has been increased at schools across Montgomery County, particularly Wootton High School. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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